While OTT platforms are overtaking viewership from cable, certain content on these platforms stands in violation of acts governing cinema and television. So is it time for censorship?
Hmm, what should I watch today? Another romantic comedy or is it the night for crime! With more than 35 OTT (Over The Top) platforms catering to the increased need for content, the debate around censorship has once again found its way to the forefront. Today, OTT has become a sole outlet for not just web series but even mainstream cinema. Theatres have remained closed for months, and although we are slowly opening public spaces, there continues to be a general apprehension among people, as we double guess our need to head out.
What does the law of the land say?
Traditional media like press, television, radio, or films have been regulated by the government for long, however, digital media and the OTTs have been left out of this scrutiny. The Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Law and Justice, Electronics, Information and Technology, Telecom and CBFC do not exercise any sort of jurisdiction over such platforms. The Government considers such platforms to be intermediaries, where they cannot exercise jurisdiction.
Under the rules set down by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), OTT platforms have had to sign a self-regulatory code of best practices, however there is no official government policy regarding it.
A divided front
For an older audience, there is worry that impressionable kids will be exposed to all kinds of objectionable content. There comes the larger picture of parental supervision to monitor the child’s activity, and zero censorship can make it very hard to block access to such viewing material.
However, the argument on the other side sheds light on the creative freedom allowed in art. Opportunities to showcase talent, raise awareness on key issues, and nurture new ideas & concepts. Media is no longer ruled by the Bollywood biggies with hoards of cash to back repressive thought, but it creates an open ecosystem to experiment and opportunities for new talent.
While cinema is the true reflection of society, there still exists many grey areas that need to be addressed.